“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”
When you hear William Shakespeare being mentioned, you may conjure up horrid memories of forced Romeo and Juliet readings in school, or the random Lawrence Olivier production that you caught on TV one time. However, we need to should give Mr S. some props; I cannot think (and this is obviously purely opinion) of any writer that has left such a legacy that could match or surpass that of Shakespeare’s. You, of course, may disagree, and I love differing opinions, so please let me know!
Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In his time he wrote 36 plays – spanning many different genres, around 154 sonnets, may poems, and performed for 2 different monarchs!
Shakespeare was the chameleon of writers; 16th and 17th century England wasn’t exactly known for its liberal stance on censorship. Shakespeare had to perform a delicate balancing act of observing the status quo, both politically and legally, and actually writing what he wanted to write. Much like many of us I imagine, Shakespeare rather preferred to keep his head!
Even though Shakespeare wrote many wonderful plays, my personal favorite has to be King Lear. This, to me, is his most “human play”. It focuses on family, what it means to be a family, and indeed the consequences of flouting the strict societal and legal rules of the time. There is commentary on old age, primogeniture, parent-child relationships, misogyny, class, justice, nature and human cost. This play runs the whole gauntlet and it is perhaps his most contemporary of plays.
In order to be in a chance of winning, simply leave a comment describing your favorite play by Shakespeare. Alternatively, you can also comment with your least favorite! The person that gives the most passionate plead (either for or against a play) will win. As I may be biased, I will ask one of my muses to pick.
Good luck, and happy reading!